Chassis #: 47633
France's Delahaye was one of the world's earliest automobile manufacturers. They were established during 1845 in Tours and later relocated to Paris, building their first horseless carriage in 1894. Years later, at the 1935 Paris Salon, they introduced one of their most famous and impressive models - the Type 135. It ushered in a new era for the company, featuring sporting lines and given the nickname 'Coupe des Alpes' for its early success in the Alpine Rally.
The Type 135 brought Delahaye fame and it influenced the company's future direction and designs. During its lifespan, it was carefully and continuously developed, resulting in several variants including the uprated 135 M (Modifie) and competition models. Delahaye 135s captured 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th at the 1936 French Grand Prix, which was run to sports-car regulations that year. The 1936 LeMans 24 Hours was cancelled in 1936 due to labor unrest, but returned the following year with Delahaye 135s scoring 2nd and 3rd, followed by a 1st, 2nd, and 4th in 1938. Siam's Prince Bira won the 1938 Donington 12-Hour Sports Car Race and Prince Chula was victorious at Brooklands' 'Fastest Road Car in England' event. Post-WW II, Delahaye 135s raced well into the 1950s, with one contesting the 1954 Tour de France.
The Delahaye 135 would endure through the difficult late 1930s and postwar reconstruction until 1954, when Delahaye automobile production effectively ended.
Engineer Jean Francois designed the Type 135 chassis. Initially, it was fitted with an inline six-cylinder engine with modern overhead-valve architecture and a displacement size of 3.2 liters. Power output increased in 1935 with the engine growing to 3.6 liters.
Delahaye did not produce coachwork of its own. Instead, the work was reserved for some of the finest custom coachbuilders including Figoni et Falaschi, Saoutchik, Pennock, and Marcel Pourtout. Another elite French carrosier - Dubos Freres - used their craft to cloth the Type 135. Dubos Freres was located in the outskirts of Paris at Neuilly-sur-Seine and then Puteaux. Their early work included coachwork for Voisin, a Renault Vivastella in 1934, and then by 1937, a focus on Delahaye 135 chassis. When World War II came to a close, Dubos designed the first Talbot-Lago Grand Sport coupe, but discontinued operation by 1950.
This particular example is a 1938 Delahaye 135 M with 'teardrop' coachwork by Dubos. It has a unique band atop the hood, which sweeps across the bodysides, terminating just aft of the B-pillar. But perhaps its most distinct feature is the bureau-style 'rollback' roof; this may be the sole example with this type of roof configuration.
The car's first owner was a top-ranking German diplomat Eberhard von Storer, who is listed on the vehicle's Spanish vehicle title document as having been domiciled in Barcelona. The car's next owner, Marcios Alsina Basol of Spain, took possession of the car on August 28, 1948, followed by the third owner on December 30, 1950. Santiago Fernandez Vela of Madrid, the last recorded Spanish owner, purchased the car on May 12th of 1958.
The Delahaye remained in Spain and was apparently left abandoned in a parking facility. By 1979, it was listed as being owned by Mr. Vela and was part of his museum collection. At the time, the car was complete and a restoration commenced. The current caretaker acquired the car from Mr. Vela during the late 2000s, importing the car to the United States, and commissioning a complete restoration.
The car is finished in white and black. It has twin Marchal-scripted fog lamps and Marchal headlamps. The interior is trimmed in red leather and there is a three-spoke 'banjo' steering wheel, steering-column-mounted Cotal preselector gearshift, 'O.S.' instruments, and trimmed upholstery.By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2017